Analysis: Details of Norwich airport training academy revealed at funding launch

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP, and Norwich International Airport CEO Andrew Bell at t

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP, and Norwich International Airport CEO Andrew Bell at the announcement of the 'growth deal' for region with an extra £50m of cash to boost business.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A £48.5m cash boost from Whitehall for projects across Norfolk and Suffolk will help take the Eastern region closer to its goal of becoming an 'economic powerhouse', it was claimed today.

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (Lep) which is administering the cash, delivered his upbeat message at Norwich International Airport, which will be receiving £3m towards a world-leading aviation training academy it hopes to deliver by September 2016.

It was revealed at the launch of the latest funding phase that the academy - which will be large enough to house a full-size aircraft - would be the focus of a ground-breaking aviation engineering degree course, developed by KLM, the UEA and City College Norwich.

Mr Pendlington said: 'The award of the cash is a massive vote of confidence from government in projects that are compelling. We have made the business case for them and they so richly deserve this funding.'

No part of the region would be untouched by the funding with projects ranging from a £4m transport deal for Norwich that would see new bikes and bus lanes, an £8m engineering centre at West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds and a £2.5m injection into Lowestoft that would allow enterprise zone road improvements.

He said funding would also be used to raise skills and help businesses grow, highlighting a £13.5m pot to support small and medium-sized enterprises.

Andrew Bell, CEO of Norwich airport, said the idea for a training academy had come out of talks with KLM in 2012 about how to safeguard skills for the future.

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He said: 'That discussion took place in the context of soaring demand for aviation skills and it became clear there was an opportunity to create something of much broader scope than we had originally anticipated.'

The aim of the £12.5m scheme was to 'put Norfolk on the aviation skills map'.